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How hunts can benefit from social media

In this article from the Countryside Alliance's membership magazine,  My Countryside, Polly Portwin looks at how hunts are benefitting from embracing social media.

There are times when many may wish it were possible to switch off all social media platforms and go about their business the way they did before the phenomenon became a way of life for a large percentage of society. Others, on the other hand, simply could not manage without it.  

More and more hunts and their supporters fall into the latter category, with social media responsible for increasing awareness of lawful hunting activities and providing a fast way of sharing information to a network of interested parties. Ranging from sharing anecdotes and amusing photos – those joining the tumblers’ clubs feature regularly – these platforms can help to promote hunt events, sell merchandise and engage with their followers at the touch of a button.  

The Alliance has been working with hunts and encouraging them to embrace social media platforms to celebrate all that is brilliant about hunting with hounds for many years. One particular gathering of fresh-faced and newly appointed Social Media Administrators (SMAs) took place in the café of a garden centre near Shrewsbury in Shropshire, over five years ago. Since then, those same SMAs have found themselves giving tips to others starting up new pages, having inspired them to showcase their own hunts to the world.  

Facebook remains the world’s most used social media platform, holding a 62% UK market share as of June 2023. In January this year, it was recorded that there were almost 56 million UK Facebook account holders – a rise of almost 22% on just four years ago – with Instagram having around 34 million users and both X (formerly Twitter) and Snapchat having in the region of 23 million followers. Facebook remains the most popular social network across all age groups in the UK, whilst along with its subsidiary WhatsApp, the highest use is among those aged between 26 and 35 years old. 

Each hunt’s social media account tends to have its own style in terms of how many posts are published per week and at what time they find their audience is most engaged, but with a variety of different platforms available and so many different age groups and audiences to appeal to, how do hunts decide which of the many different social media channels to utilise and what to post? 

Keep it simple

Karen Silcock, secretary of the Fitzwilliam Hunt and the SMA for the hunt’s online presence uses both Instagram and Facebook, tending to publish the same material on both platforms. She reveals the secret to their success: “It’s simple really, use cute pictures – getting them is the hard bit – but be consistent in posting and listen to your audience.”

“Our top post over the past year was an early morning video of our beautiful kennels lit up in the early morning with the hounds singing,” continued Karen. “I took the video on our first morning of autumn hunting this season – I got out of my car, heard the hounds and just had to capture the moment.”

Nicola Housley successfully manages the Quorn Hunt’s social media platforms and prefers Facebook where they have 38,000 followers and gain, on average, 500 followers per month. She says: “I personally prefer Facebook as there is more interaction, we get some lovely comments and messages saying how much pleasure it brings to people. I try to post a good mix of videos and photos with plenty of variety of hounds, horses, social events, kennel life all year round, along with educational posts showing hound and horse welfare, and etiquette.

“Our videos get the most reactions with several this year reaching 500,000 to one million accounts – people love to see hounds moving off with big fields smartly dressed and they love the funny ones too. Our overseas followers are fascinated by our beautiful countryside, hedges and tradition too,” reveals Nicola.”  

Reaching the right people 

The network of SMAs that has been created enables specific messaging to go out quickly to a wide audience of hunt supporters who are encouraged to engage with these posts. The WhatsApp group for SMAs ensures specific content from the Countryside Alliance and the British Hound Sports Association gets circulated, with the SMAs encouraged to utilise their platforms to make their supporters aware of wider hunting-related content and important messaging. The recent Countryside Alliance e-lobby – which sent a direct email to the Labour Party following comments about their plans to ban trail and draghunting in their first term in government – was circulated far and wide on social media, ensuring that a strong message was sent from the hunting community.  

Of course, there are downsides to social media, not least the lack of editorial control which can give those who oppose our activities a way to post untruths in an attempt to damage hunting’s reputation, or to provide a soapbox for those among our own community who decide to air their grievances in public. This is where the role of an active SMA is so critical.

A conversation  

Rachel Cooke, the SMA for the Cheshire Hunt which has 31,500 followers on Facebook and whose posts have reached 11.8 million people since the start of this season, explains how the role of the SMA can be challenging at times. “The Facebook page is not the admin’s personal page, it is the ‘face’ and reputation of their respective hunt so we always carefully consider what we post in terms of pictures, videos and content and always anticipate any negative comments that individual posts will generate,” says Rachel. “We are very lucky to have Lynne Shore who provides a constant supply of photographs to showcase our page. We try and answer sensible questions but any abuse or bad language is not tolerated and the facility to ban saboteurs is a useful tool.”  


On the positive side, Rachel has used the platform to silence some of the doubters, often asking for a point of view and opening up a discussion. A series of recent articles asking a variety of hunt supporters – including a businessman, a teenager and an NHS worker – what it is that trail hunting means to them, were very successful and helped dispel some of the misconceptions about the type of people who follow hounds and for what reason. 

“We would encourage all hunts to have a presence on social media especially with an impending election that threatens our way of life. With a combined PR strategy, it is possible that we can make a difference and put up a significant fight,” urges Rachel. “The hunt pages constantly outperform the saboteur pages and we shouldn’t underestimate our influence on a platform that appears to dominate and influence today’s society.” 

It may feel at times that you can’t ever shut social media off, and some content might drive you to distraction, but overall there are many benefits to these platforms, not least an opportunity for anybody with an interest in hunting with hounds to follow as many hunt profiles as possible and immerse themselves in a world where only hunting exists.

The Countryside Alliance’s social media platforms – with over 170,000 followers on Facebook and 42,000 followers on Instagram – are used routinely as a vital tool in sharing positive hunting news stories and stopping the spread of misinformation about lawful hunting activities, as well as keeping our members and supporters updated with the various aspects of our important political and campaigning work.  

Hunt supporters are encouraged to follow our dedicated accounts and to engage with them to maximise the reach of our important posts. 



X (formerly known as Twitter) 

As we head towards the general election, maximising the reach of positive hunting content will be an important tool, with the Alliance gathering a network of Digital Ambassadors who will help share key messaging by sharing posts on social media or forwarding WhatsApp messages.  

If you would like to play your part in delivering a winning campaign by becoming a Countryside Alliance Digital Ambassador, please send your name and mobile contact number to

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